Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure every primary school pupil has access to cycle safety training, after new research carried out by the party showed 38% of primary schools offer no training whatsoever.
Information released to the Scottish Liberal Democrats under the Freedom of Information Act shows that Island and city councils are among the best performers, but as few as one in three schools in some local authority areas provide the training.
Falkirk (14%) and North Lanarkshire (23%) trail behind, whereas Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Glasgow, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire have some form of cycle training available to all pupils.
Access to loan bicycles also varies for pupils across the different council areas.
In October, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed a Scottish Liberal Democrat amendment stating that ‘every schoolchild in Scotland should have the opportunity to benefit from cycle training’.
Mr Rumbles said:
"This Christmas thousands of children across Scotland will be excitedly unwrapping bikes for the first time. But cycling should not just be for those whose parents can afford it and the chance to acquire road safety skills shouldn't depend on where you live.
“Every child should have the opportunity to learn how to keep themselves safe on a bike on our roads. This confidence brings with it a raft of benefits that last a lifetime. It encourages healthy living, reduces emissions and pollution as cars are left at home, and opens the door to one of Scotland’s best pastimes.
"That's why Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that cycling should be encouraged and every schoolchild should have access to bicycle safety training, with bike loan facilities to ensure they don't miss out.
"Sadly this research reveals that at the moment a third of primary schools offer no cycle training at all, with areas such as Falkirk and North Lanarkshire falling well behind.
“In the recent parliamentary debate on active travel ministers accepted my amendment calling for all young people to have access to cycle training. Now I want to see the Scottish Government manage this roll out to all primary schools as quickly as possible.”